What To Expect Post-Pandemic: Pet Grooming
It isn’t just new pet grooming operators in our economy that have been affected by the current pandemic – even veteran managers and small business owners have experienced significant challenges and business disruptions as COVID-19 continues to attack. Especially hard hit have been those who have had to temporarily close down as a result and are attempting a restart. They are, in many cases, having to go back to square one, and starting a dog grooming business all over again presents a variety of challenges most have never had to deal with.
And we’re not just talking about lost revenue — even if you’ve had enough money to stay afloat during the crisis period, you’ll find that things just aren’t the same nowadays. There’s a legitimate reason people are saying that there is a “new normal” during and after COVID-19. The strategies that were once considered foolproof in the world of business are no longer as solid – even seemingly mundane things require more forethought now.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of things to remember as you rebuild and maintain your pet grooming business going forward.
1. This is NOT Business as Usual
While everyone would like to resume “business as usual,” the reality is that it just isn’t an option. This is particularly true for small businesses such as pet grooming salons. While doors have definitely reopened in most places, there are still some changes that have to be implemented. For example — many groomers are now working outdoors instead of the close quarters of their grooming space in order to allow for social distancing between employees. Depending on the regulations in your area, you may need to groom pets on the sidewalk outside of your shop.
You will also want to ensure that your facility is set up to comply with all applicable state and local guidelines, including how clients access the building, ensuring that clients and employees are safely socially distanced during all interactions, and making certain that all cleaning and sanitizing procedures are followed to the letter.
2. Keep Clients In the Loop
Design via MyCreativeShop Newsletter Templates
The most crucial aspect of any business-to-customer enterprise is communication — something particularly important in a post-pandemic period. As a service-oriented business, you need to be certain that your customers know all about curbside drop-offs and pickups, options for touchless payment methods, disinfection and cleaning protocols, updated hours of operation, and any other new procedure to be followed.
Apart from the health of your employees and consumers, you also need to maintain your reputation and their trust in the fact that you know what you’re doing. One of the best ways you can do that is by continuing to communicate to your clients in printed form, so that you can share updates with them in a clear and personal way. Consider putting together a newsletter that makes your customers feel like an important and valued part of the family.
Create your own Coronavirus yard signs and banners or customize one of our standard dog grooming poster or flyer templates with updated COVID practices and service offerings. Personalizing a dog grooming postcard template is also a fantastic way to communicate virtually “face-to-face.”
Because the current state of COVID is ever-changing, it’s essential for all businesses to be able to adapt quickly to new recommendations and restrictions. The temporary and inexpensive nature of print marketing makes it a little easier to roll with the punches. We dive even deeper into print’s elevated status in our post, “Print Marketing: An Unexpected Hero in the Fight Against the Coronavirus.”
3. Be Thoughtful About Discounts
In times when customers lose interest in a business for one reason or another, it’s generally accepted practice to “lure” them in with tangible benefits such as discounts. And when sales have been unusually slow to come by (like during the current pandemic), you may be especially tempted to offer sizable discounts in order to make some quick cash.
However, overdoing this practice may lead you to miss out on some well-earned revenue. As restrictions ease, cabin fever-ridden pet owners are likely to leap at the opportunity to get Fluffy or Fido spruced up after being stuck inside without the opportunity for a professional grooming session. So, while you may want to increase the awareness of your pet grooming business by advertising a reasonable discount for a short while, don’t go overboard. You don’t actually need the discount to drive demand — imagine how many people have avoided grooming their pets during quarantine and social isolation!
One smart way to use discounts as we head for (what we hope is) the post-pandemic era is to benefit your long-time clients who are struggling to recover from what the pandemic has cost them financially. If you can afford it, your kindness and generosity will go a long way to building trust and goodwill, along with a loyal client base!
4. Take Care of Your Employees
Prioritizing your employees and their well-being is more important than ever as our economies work to reopen. The COVID-19 era has introduced a lot of new operational procedures that have replaced or expanded on existing methods. All industries have had to reconsider how they do simple, everyday things. Even in a pet grooming business, employees are likely to have more work on their plates than ever before.
Graphic via Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Hero Behind the Mask
Your employees are in the crucible of this season of “Life in the Time of COVID” along with you, doing more than they ever expected, often for little acknowledgment. Showing your appreciation for their hard work and dedication is even more important now in order to boost morale and prevent employee burnout. Find little and big ways to let your staff know that you see them, whether by handing out bonuses (if you’re able) or simply recognizing their hard work on social media with thoughtful “Hero Behind the Mask” posts. Knowing they are a valued part of your team can make all the difference!
It’s also vital that you do everything in your power to preserve the physical health of your employees. This may include providing all necessary PPE for employees and instituting a face mask requirement for clients and vendors. 2020 has been a chaotic year, to say the least. Procedures to screen staff and customers for any signs of illness are also a smart way to give everyone peace of mind. It is absolutely essential to your employees’ sanity and job satisfaction that they know you have their backs. They are some of your biggest assets, and keeping them safe and satisfied is the key to surviving 2020.
5. Take Advantage of Social Media
Cheers had it right – making your way in the world today really does take everything you’ve got. It’s vital that you increase the visibility of your business in the weeks and months coming out of lockdown, especially since the increased demand that you will hopefully experience is something your competitors will be working to benefit from as well. In this post-pandemic world, that means adding an online component to your real world print materials.
A well thought-out social media campaign is a fantastic companion (or standalone strategy, in a pinch) to your existing print marketing materials. It takes more creativity than money to create a successful campaign on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and it can pay off in a huge way in terms of generating new leads.
6. Invest in Referral Programs
Image via Spark Energy
In addition to short-term changes to the way you do business post-pandemic, your pet grooming shop can benefit from some long-term improvements as well. One of the most interesting things that could happen after the pandemic is a global re-socializing; people will likely want to talk and hang out more than ever before. Thus, word-of-mouth will be an even more powerful marketing tool than ever.
As a small business, you may want to think about starting a referral program. Offering special benefits for those who share your name with family or friends provides a definite incentive for your clients to help you grow your business at the grassroots level, making it a wise investment all the way around. You can easily use the tools in our online editor to customize one of our dog grooming postcards or flyers into a highly effective referral program marketing tool!
Make MyCreativeShop Your Post-Pandemic Secret Weapon
Recovering from the economic effects of this crazy year won’t happen overnight. However, customizing your own marketing materials can give you a leg up as you work hard to get back in the game. MyCreativeShop is here for you every step of the way. Check out all the templates we have to offer and get started today!